My first of the festive season

You may have realised from the photo that I am talking about indulging in my first mince pie this year, although technically, I did have a bite of a Chunk of Devon mince pie in a show that I did a couple of months ago, which I have to say was pretty yummy. So, I’m really saying this is my first homemade mince pie this year, having baked a batch last Saturday. I didn’t actually have one until Monday when I posted a photo on Instagram… hair by Dyson Corrale, mince pies by juliagroberts!

By the way, if you’ve been hankering after the Corrale straighteners, they are currently on five Easy Pay interest-free instalments – an opportunity to try them out, I guess, and see how you get on with them. That photo was taken before my trip to the hairdresser on Tuesday for my colour and only my second haircut this year. It would never have been possible before I started using the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer, which has minimised the amount of heat damage to my hair.

Back to the mince pies though, I thought I’d post my recipe in case you want to try them out and to save you asking:

Mince Pie Recipe (makes 2 dozen)

  • 8 oz white self-raising flour
  • 8 oz wholemeal plain flour
  • 4oz butter
  • 4 oz Trex (white vegetable fat)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1 regular jar of mincemeat

1. Put both flours into a large mixing bowl with the salt.
2. Cut the butter and Trex into cubes, then add to the flour and rub in until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the cold water, using a knife to bring the dough together, then knead for a few seconds to form into a ball.
4. Cut the dough in half and roll out on a well-floured surface, then, using the larger of two pastry cutters, cut out as many ‘bottoms’ as you can – gather up the dough scraps and put aside while you roll out the other half of the dough and cut ‘tops’ with the smaller cutter.
5. Gather all the scraps together to form a ball and repeat.
6. Line your patty tins with the ‘bottoms’ then spoon in a generous teaspoon of mincemeat to each.
7. Using your finger, run cold water around each ‘top’ before placing over the mixture and pressing down firmly.
8. Make a little cross in the top of each pie using a sharp knife and sprinkle with a small amount of granulated sugar.
9. Bake in the oven for 18 -20 minutes at 200 degrees or 180 degrees fan assisted.

We’ve enjoyed them cold but also warmed through in the microwave for 30 seconds and served with cream. By the way, microwave is pronounced as spelled and not as pronounced by Nigella Lawson – I’m pretty sure that clip will feature on Gogglebox tonight!

With Christmas only two weeks away, I must confess to not having wrapped a single present for my family. I did however wrap this lot for the teams behind the scenes at QVC. Each year, the presenters arrange something from all of us as a thank you to the teams that support us – for the past couple of years it’s been pizza for all – but obviously that isn’t possible this year with social distancing regulations. So, I volunteered myself to organise and Craig quickly stepped up to help, as we did it a few years back and worked well together. We’d decided on the gifts and bought everything within a week – messaging each other as Mama Santa and Christmas Elf, which has really put me in a festive mood! All done and dusted and ready to gift – great teamwork.

The two of us were also partnered up to be on this Christmas postcard last month, which was sent out to some new customers to welcome them to QVC and thank them for shopping with us – I really like those glasses on Craig and you may well be seeing more of my sparkly reindeer antlers as we get closer to Christmas!

Although I haven’t wrapped any family presents yet, I have bought most of them now and all from QVC or other online retailers. I haven’t been tempted out to the shops since the relaxation of lockdown in our area. I’ve just accepted that this year is a little different and that the joys of the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle, and Christmas markets will for me have to wait until next year (hopefully). It’s been quite a busy week for Donald, our Hermes delivery driver, and I have a few more goodies on the way, including the Molton Brown Today’s Special Value, which I ordered early.

I’m very glad I did, and I’d recommend you taking advantage of the pre-order opportunity for the Liz Earle Today’s Special Value this coming Sunday. This one is based around their fabulous fragrance with a choice of No 1, No 9, No 15, No 20 and No 100, all in the full 50ml size – check our website to help you decide which one to go for. Whichever fragrance you choose, you will also get 200ml of Cleanse & Polish (with two muslin cloths), 200ml of Rosemary & Rock Rose Botanical Body Wash, 200ml of Rosemary & Rock Rose Botanical Body Cream and 50ml of Rosemary & Rock Rose Hand Repair. It’s gift boxed, on 4 Easy Pay interest-free instalments and less than half price.

But if that’s not for you, we have another beauty Today’s Special Value on Monday (launching 9 p.m. Sunday), which you will need to be super-quick with. It’s a Tili (Try It Love It) vanity bag, featuring products from seven of your favourite QVC brands – it will fly if the Tili box offer from last weekend is anything to go by… it had sold out before my 9 a.m. show.

Just a quick heads up on a new voucher code starting today and running until the end of this year on clearance items in clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories. If you’re spending over £30, use the code SALE15 at checkout to get an additional 15% off – this is now available to use on our latest app, so make sure you update it.

And if you’re not planning on spending that much, there is already code SALE2Z which can give you two Easy Pay interest-free instalments on similar clearance lines until midnight on Dec 27th.

Although I’m not on air this weekend, I’m going to be busy buying and decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards – thanks if you’ve sent me one in, as they are always much appreciated to brighten our dressing rooms. As well as writing Christmas cards, I also need to get another 5000 words for my book publishing next summer and do the final proofread for My Mother’s Secret, out next month… it really is all go! Sadly, as it is not my rostered weekend, I’ll be missing the final Butler & Wilson show of the year with Simon Wilson, which is tomorrow from 4 p.m. for two hours if you fancy some sparkle.

Just before I finish, I wanted to pay tribute to Barbara Windsor, another star who is lost to this world in 2020. I was in a pantomime with Barbara at the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon in 1978/79. She played the title role of Dick Whittington and I was her understudy, as well as being in the chorus line of dancers. She never missed a performance and brought a ray of sunshine to every show. Our paths crossed again many years later, when she appeared on QVC as a guest for a nailcare range we sold in the early days called Supernails – I wonder if any of you reading this remember Nail Eat and Nail Drink, not to mention Qtica!?! RIP Barbara, a true one-off.

Much love,
Julia xx

10 Responses

  1. OMG Julia what a lovely pic and what a joy for you to have worked with such a lovely lady. In that pic that could well be your Sophie – oh how like you she is. A lovely memory for you and what a loss to us all in such a sad year of so many, many losses. Take care xx

    1. Hi Karen
      Yes, I look a lot like Sophie in that photo when my face was much thinner and younger!! It was a happy show to be in – also starred Norman Vaughan who a lot of people may remember from the Roses chocolates adverts.
      Not a great year for so many people for so many reasons this year 😕 Ihope you can still enjoy Christmas though
      Julia x

  2. Sadly a great many of our icons are leaving this world. RIP to all of them and you, Julia, are very lucky to have known some of them and worked with them. Let me take this time to wish you a healthy and happy 2021.

    1. Hi Denise
      I guess I’m of the age where a lot of the ‘stars’ from when I was starting out in ‘show business’ aged just 17 are coming towards the end of their years – sobering and quite sad 😕
      Wishing you a happy & healthy 2021 too
      Julia x

  3. Hi Julia, yes I remember nail eat & drink, gosh we’re have the years gone & you were so lucky to have worked with the amazing lady, Dame Barbara Windsor what a little pocket rocket, watched, loved & a true icon who will be sadly missed by everyone but that wonderful chuckle she had will live on in all our memories. R.I.P Babs!!
    As for you Julia we were lucky enough to meet you at QVC ‘ s 20 year celebration at the Mayfair Hotel in London, you were also lovely. & shared lots of laughs with us your loyal viewers, still watching you & still buying lots & lots from QVC, I too have a blood cancer that like you is behaving at the moment so we just celebrate how precious life is especially as we draw to a close a very different year, Have a wonderful Christmas to you & your family & here is to a healthy 2021 too one & all

    1. Hi Sue,
      Can you believe how quickly the years have gone since that 20th anniversary celebration! ‘Time waits for no man’ is such a true saying.
      I’m pleased to hear that, like me, your blood cancer is under control at present – I would hate to be newly diagnosed with all the worry being heaped on top of the pandemic.
      I hope you will be able to enjoy Christmas & everything crossed for a healthier new year all round
      Julia x

  4. Love your Blog plus the Pies I have Eaten and Cooked to many already !! haha it might be a Strange Christmas this Year, but this Year Q.V.C has been a Joy & Star helping me with Many Presents thank- you all and behind the Scene Staff you have all been Working so hard xx

    1. Hi Mary
      So glad to have been able to help out with your Christmas shopping and thanks for mentioning the behind the scenes teams without who the on air shows wouldn’t be possible.
      I need to make another batch of mince pies, but that will be the last as there will now only be the four of us on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas
      Julia x

    1. Hi Ann
      I really liked the Nail Food system, but my particular fave was Qtica – I could do with some now as my cuticles are suffering with all the hand washing and sanitising
      Julia x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.